Support » Themes and Templates » Help! Can’t see Design view of theme in Dreamweaver

  • I’m trying to modify the theme Spitfire in Dreamweaver CS3. But when I open files such as style.css and header.php, I can’t see the Design view. What am I doing wrong?

    Please be patient – I’m a Dreamweaver newbie and have mastered a lot of video editing software but am kinda new to web design. (I have searched around but can’t find a WordPress manual or a site that walks you through the theme-tweaking process. Thus, I have wasted a LOT of time tweaking the CSS stylesheets through trial and error, with mixed results.)


Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • I have the answer! (warning, shameless plug for ‘commercial’ yet cheap solution 😉 But first the problem at hand…

    Dreamweaver is really designed to create HTML and has a feature called Live Data (soon to become Live View in Dreamweaver CS4) to view dynamic content from ‘dynamic scripted pages’, i.e. PHP. Unfortunately, this is too primitive to render WordPress code as DW assumes that one dynamic page = one scripted page. WordPress’s code (and any Content Management System for that matter) is really too intricate for DW to decode.

    Enter ThemeDreamer.

    It will do exactly what you are looking for and can unlock the potential in Dreamweaver’s Design View (which is really just another proprietary browser with its own nuances). I’m with you in that Design View feels like a natural way to go, because you can split the screen and see code/design view. Click in the Design View window and DW takes you to the relevant block of code. ThemeDreamer doesn’t make it super easy for newbies, but it is promising. You should really look at the Theme writing tutorials/documentation here and on the web.

    Personally I’d recommend to use WORDPAD or HTML Editing softwares to edit them manually for best results and ease of use! 🙂

    As regular DreamWeaver user (v. 8.1), I can tell you that the visual editor is not always WYSIWYG. I know how to code these days, so I’m not very frustrated by this — I habitually open my pages in actual browsers after every change.

    But I can see why you are frustrated… try Steveorevo’s suggestion (haven’t tried it myself), but also bear in mind that working with DW as a design tool is not like working in Illustrator, Photoshop or Quark… it’s an approximation, and the fact is that you have to test in all the major browsers anyway, because they all render slightly differently (especially #$Q%$% IE6!) Be glad you weren’t designing in the earlier pre-standard days!

    I love DW for it’s other features — nice CSS editor, updating of link changes, etc., but the fact is that many web designers just use a favorite text editor and preview in the actual browser. It’s a good idea to understand that DW is not a reliable preview, but only a “ballpark” preview.




    btw, hostv, I admin the b2evolution forums, and i dont take kindly to attempts at circumventing our spam protection. I’m sure spamming your domain is all your doing here, as your other response was exactly (who would have guessed) the same as several of your replies over there at b2evo. I have my eye on your spammy self.

    Oh, re-reading the OP, I’d like to add one more comment about using DW to edit WordPress themes — I just realized you are looking at PHP files.

    The easier way to do this is simply view the (live) page in your browser, view the source, and copy the entire HTML of the source into Dreamweaver and save it as an html test page (e.g. mytestpage.html) in the root of your local copy of the site. (You will probably need to change the paths referring to your style.css file, etc. — usually can be accomplished with a simple search & replace, removing the URL portion of the absolute path so that you have a relative path instead.).

    That way, you have a static html copy of what WordPress’s php is generating. You can now play with the CSS and see what effects it is going to have on the page. If you are planning to change the HTML, you can change it in the test page until you are satisfied, and then edit the actual php of the header/sidebar/content files to generate the new code in the live site.

    Hope that makes sense — to summarize: have WP generate the HTML page, save it as a static page, style the CSS in your editor (and possibly edit the HTML), and then make appropriate changes to the php files of your theme, if necessary.

    A new version 0.2 of ThemeDreamer has been released and it now supports Dreamweaver 8 on both Mac & PC. Again, it just provides an approximation of a theme file in Design View without having to install or upload to a server, etc. (change a font, css style and see the results in a millisecond vs. upload/wait/browser/refresh). More helpfull features follow suite too (code hints, links to documentation, etc).

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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